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Mark Looseley

Staff picture: Mark Looseley
Cell and Molecular Sciences
Cell and Molecular Sciences
Research Scientist
+44 (0)344 928 5428 (*)

The James Hutton Institute
Dundee DD2 5DA
Scotland UK



  • BSc. Environmental and Evolutionary Biology, University of St Andrews (2002)
  • MSc. Quantitative Genetics and Genome Analysis, Edinburgh University (2003)
  • PhD. Environmental Genomics, University of St Andrews (2007)

Current research interests

The most economically significant use of barley is for use in the production of alcoholic drinks following malting, accounting for over 1/3 of the UK barley crop.  As such, improving malting quality is a key target for barley breeders. My current research aims to support this goal by providing tools and knowledge neccessary for rapid and efficient gains in key malting quality traits.

This research uses quantitative genetic and genomic approaches to identify genetic variation for these commercially relevent traits.  Working predominantly in collaborative projects with commercial seed breeders, field phenotyping along with high-density SNP genotyping and next generation sequencing are used to ensure that these results are both scientifically robust and commercially relevent.


Past research

Identification and characterisation of host resistance to Rhynchosporium commune in barley:

  • QTL mapping and GWAS approaches to identify and localise novel host resistance
  • Alternative phenotyping methods for detailed characterisation of host-pathogen interactions
  • Screening of diverse accessions to identify novel resistance sources



  • Thomas, W.T.B.; Bull, H.; Houston, K.; Looseley, M.E. (2017) Barley (Origins, uses, breeding, and composition)., In: Walker, G.M., Abbas, C., Ingledew, W.M. and Pilgrim, C. (eds.). The Alcohol Textbook, 6th edition. Chapter 5.

  • Fitt, B.D.L.; Atkins, S.D.; Fraaije, B.A.; Lucas, J.A.; Newton, A.C.; Looseley, M.E.; Werner, P.; Harrap, D.; Ashworth, M.; Southgate, J.; Phillips, H.; Gilchrist. A. (2012) Role of inoculum sources in Rhynchosporium population dynamics and epidemics on barley., HGCA Project Report No 486, 46pp.
  • Newton, A.C.; Avrova, A.O.; Thirugnanasambandam, A.; Looseley, M. (2011) Asymptomatic infection - the Trojan horse of crop production., Annual Report of the Scottish Crop Research Institute for 2010, pp14-15.

Scientific Posters / Conferences

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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.